The Recycle Wine Bottle Initiative: How To Build A Wine Bottle Path

Garden, Green Ideas — By on July 18, 2011 5:50 pm

Shawna Coronado's wine bottle and rock garden paths

It all began with Gary Vaynerchuk. He and I were at an event together last year and I asked him, “Do you know how many wine bottles are recycled every year?” His answer: “I have no idea, but I would like to know.” Statistics are vague on world wine bottle production, but from what I can glean, wine bottle production is close to a billion bottles per year annually.

A billion. That got me to thinking about how many are thrown in the landfills and not recycled. It seems that we are losing a great resource by throwing all that glass in the garbage. Wine bottles can be useful.

With that in mind, I decided to try my hand at reusing wine bottles. I think Gary would be proud of my efforts. It is a first step towards actually doing something and not just whining about the issue. Bottom line: making a difference, even a small one, is better than doing nothing at all.

My first project – building a non-permanent wine bottle path in my back yard. By building a temporary path, I did not have to get permission from the city or my homeowners association. It can be pulled up with little effort, but is still a comfortable walking path which connects my two side yard flagstone paths. You can see the before photo below.

Shawna Coronado's lawn before the wine bottle path

How To Build A Wine Bottle Path

wine bottle path pre set upWhat you will need -

  • Wine bottles
  • Stepping stones and/or bricks
  • Sand
  • Grit, pebbles, or lime screenings
  • Weed control landscape fabric
  • Shovels and/or grass stripping materials

Step 1 – Lay out the materials first to make sure you have enough stepping stones and like the shape and pattern of path you are building. (see photo above right)

digging the grass outStep 2 – Remove grass, either by hand, or by using a sod cutting machine. I had my landscaping buddy’s from Barton Landscaping come in and help me take up the grass and dig a level inch deep path area to help me save my back. They also dug a 3 inch deep trench on the outside of the path, which is where the wine bottles will be positioned. If you are doing the digging on your own, just take it small steps at a time so you do not hurt yourself with the heavier digging. (see photo right)

laying out weeding fabric

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Step 3 – Lay weed control landscape fabric down over the soil. This is an important step so that worms cannot get up into the grit or lime screenings that you place between the bricks. If worms get in and begin to turn the matter over, the walkway will become filled with soil and mud. I used DuPont Premium WeedFree Landscape Fabric. (see photo to right)

Greenland Gardener Smart StonesStep 4 – Once the weed cover is on, place stepping stones and/or bricks in place. I chose Smart Stones from Greenland Gardener. They are 100% post-consumer recycled products, which are super-light at two pounds each, and are built to last through all sorts of outdoor conditions. After positioning the stones and bricks, fill in with lime screenings, grit, or pebbles being careful not to brush the fill material into the trench beside the walkway. (see photo to right and below)

path ready for wine bottles

place wine bottles upside down in the sandStep 5 – You are now ready to start adding wine bottles. Place a two inch layer of sand in the trench where the wine bottles are going to go. Turn the wine bottles over and place them carefully side-by-side, using the sand as a stabilizer. Once you have a short row of wine bottles placed, add soil along the side of the wine bottles to hold in place. I used Organic Mechanics soil as I wanted to plant vegetables along the edge of the path and prefer the organic soil instead of “fill soil”. (see photo right and below)

My initial thought was to remove all the wine bottle labels, but it took forever to accomplish that task, so the bottles went into the ground with no prep. Wine bottles with smaller indentations in the bottom of the bottle will help preserve the bottle longer as water will not gather in the indentation. While it would be easy to have lined both sides of the path with wine bottles, I had an abundance of rock, so decided to mix the rock and wine bottles for a rustic effect.

Maintenance is simple – it includes sweeping and/or blowing off occasionally – ENJOY!

Oh – and Gary V – if you are listening, I want to work with you on a wine bottle recycling campaign. Have your people call my people. Okay, I do not have people, but I do have a passion to make a difference. Connect with me!

wine bottles stabilized by Organic Mechanics soil

wine bottle path in Shawna's French Potager garden

wine bottle path and wall garden

*Note – Because the FTC requires it, I am noting that Greenland Gardener sponsored the Smart Stones, DuPont sponsored the DuPont Premium WeedFree Landscape Fabric , and Organic Mechanics Soil sponsored the soil used for this project. However, I would use these products even if they had not been sponsored – I like the them.

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  1. Jeanette says:

    We've been saving our wine bottles to build a bottle house like the one at Knott's Berry Farm. As a child, I loved that house with the colored light streaming in.

    Our bottle house will double as a play house and guest house.

  2. Ooooohhh – would love to see the wine bottle “house” — very cool idea!


  3. Sure wouldn't that make you look like a wino :) ?

  4. Kylee says:

    Wow, Shawna! You have really transformed your back yard!! What a busy, busy girl you have been! Love the Woolly Pockets in blue, too! You amaze me.

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  6. A Heron's View – Actually, I didn't drink the wine — just gathered them from restaurants. And Kylee – thank you sweetie! There's always an adventure to be had at the Coronado garden. :-)


  7. Redhatter says:

    I found that filling the bottles with sand helps prevent them from being easily broken. A friend brought me a pick-up load of wine bottles; someone they knew quit making “homemade” wine and gave all the bottles to him. I made a LOT of cheese plates, and now I'm in the garden! Cut the bottom off with a wet tile cutter and make wind chimes. Paint a design (flowers, vines, fruit, etc.)on the outside, stick a jigger spout in the top and fill with oil, dish detergent, etc.

  8. Great ideas Redhatter!! Thanks!


  9. Shawna – I LOVE this idea as well as your garden. It's thrilled to see it blossom over time. Your living wall is the cutest thing ever, too!

  10. Thanks Rebecca – I'll be doing a living wall story too very soon. :-)


  11. I liked the hanging wooley garden and your shovels. Does the “pouch” work on a deck?


  12. Katie says:

    Hey Shawna–that is so cool! I love how you used the Greenland Gardener stones, too! :)

  13. Anonymous says:

    I just added a beautiful green glass wine bottle to my garden this morning! I soak off the labels so the sun can shine through the glass. I “hot glue” glass stones to the end of the bottle in matching colors. I press them into my flowerpots to add interest and beauty to my garden! I particularly like the BLUE glass bottles. They are really pretty in teh sunlight.

  14. Paula says:

    what are the blue things hanging on the garden wall with the shovels and all? makes an interesting wall/plant hanging.

  15. Paula – I'll do a story on that next! It's a Woolley Pocket wall!


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  17. I love the path idea! I've outlined my flower beds in beer bottles and wine bottles. I did five dark brown beer bottles in between different colored wine bottles to give it an artistic effect. Lots of fun to do and we've had tons of compliments! (Not to mention the recycling) I love this idea and will definitely have to utilize it :)

  18. You could put litle tea lites in the cavity of the upturned bottles for special effects. Or some kind of LED little lite. That would be a good party time idea….and it would lite the way at nite for all.

    I like your recycled/upcycling idea. I might do it myself.

    Here in the U.S. Beer seems to be the bottle of choice. Has anybody ever wondered and calculated how mnay of those bottles we have?

    I can see it now, rural countried NASCAR fans with their gardens lined with Beer Bottles.

    Tastes Great, Less Elitist…More Down to American Earth !!!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    The wine bottle edging looks great, but how do you prevent water from collecting and breeding mosquitos?

  20. Ripper says:

    Shawna, great use of bottles…how about the corks? I've got about 10,000 (of course half or so are the artificial corks in use today) and would like to use in some creative garden project…not just another bulletin board. Ripper

  21. Jo Ann says:

    The Wine Bottle Path is a fun way to recycle those bottles. Thanks for sharing. My son and I built a “Bottle Tree” using recycled blue wine bottles. We sunk a 4″ x 4″ x 8 foot post in the ground 3 feet and then drilled holes at a 45 degree angle on all 4 sides. We started at the top and came down 3 feet. Each hole is maybe 8 inches apart. We glued in 1/2 inch dowels cut to about 8 inches long in each hole. Then painted it all white. When it was dry we slipped blue wine bottles over each dowel. I also have a few greens and red ones on the tree, too. This structure is in my garden and looks beautiful when the early morning sun hits it. In the winter this is a nice contrast to the snow. If it was closer to my house, I'd put tiny lights in each bottle and enjoy the bottle tree lite up.

  22. Mary fay says:

    I have had a wine bottle path over a year now, and it still looks good. Any water that collects in the top dries quickly before any mosquitoes have a chance to lay eggs. I was worried about water freezing in them, but that hasn't been a problem either. Thanks for the inspirations! Mary Fay

  23. Ripper – my wine bottle outdoor cork use fantasy would be to have my shed completely covered in them. I wish I had 10,000 corks!!!!


  24. Anonymous says:

    that's neat.. but i was thinking where could i get wine bottles.. lol my mom only drinks wine from a box! that won't help, but a funny thought!

  25. Anonymous says:

    Could the bottles actually be put down into the dirt/path, to be stepped on instead of the stones?

    This is what I thought it would be, instead it was a path edged by wine bottles.

    • Laurie says:

      I buried mine (beer bottles) and put them in straight up. They are very strong that way, keeps my water hose from tearing up plants! The Budweiser blue platinum bottles are stunning & my sister loves that beer!!!

  26. I am making one out of beer bottles- hoping it will be as pretty as yours! :)

  27. Laurie says:

    I use beer bottles in the same way – couldn’t afford edging & beer both!! LOL Has anyone ever used just the bottoms & set them into concrete for a pathway? That’s my next project I’m wanting to try as soon as I find an easy way to cut the bottoms off.

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  29. Shawna says:

    Thanks Rose!


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